Why Do Property Sales Fall Through?


Common Reasons Why House Sales Break Down

Top problems that might occur during the home buying process and what you can do to ensure your move stays on track.

52% of house sales fell through in the third quarter of 2020, due to the chaos of purchasing property during the pandemic. In a typical non-Covid year such as 2019, you could expect that figure to be nearer to 25% throughout England and Wales according to the Mortgage Finance Gazette. So, when aspirational buyers are set on finding their next dream property to live in, why are at least a quarter of those purchases falling through? And most importantly, is there anything you can do to lessen the possibility of your own transaction failing?

Problems With Mortgage Applications

Following an offer being accepted, many buyers will then begin to apply for their mortgage. You may have carried out a mortgage affordability check with your lender, but the actual application process is much more thorough, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer or are self-employed.

If you do receive a mortgage offer, this will have an expiry date attached to it. If you fail to complete before the expiry date, then you’ll need to reapply or extend the offer which can take time and hold up your property chain. Additionally, if your mortgage provider values your new property at a lower price than your agreed sale price, then this could cause the sale to collapse. To avoid this happening, make sure the property you’re buying is priced sensibly and on a par with similar properties in the area.

Surveys Uncovering Problems

If any buyer within your property chain instructs a surveyor, who finds a problem with the property they’re buying, this could impact on everyone else in the chain. Our Keystones Property Romford team explains that both buyer and seller may negotiate a different sale price, or agree for urgent work such as roof repairs to be carried out prior to the completion. However, if an agreement can’t be reached, then you might expect the chain to break down.

Conveyancing Delays

A backlog in conveyancing, as we’ve seen plenty of during Covid-19 can slow down momentum and cause a buyer to lose interest in the home buying process. Communication is key here, by keeping in touch with buyer and vendor solicitors and agents to ensure everyone is on the same page. Setting an early exchange date is a good idea too, so that the entire chain has a specific point to move towards, which keeps the pressure on.

Gazumping and Gazundering

As offers on a property aren’t legally binding, your vendor could accept a higher offer from another interested party, after having accepted yours. This is known as gazumping. Although this can be incredibly upsetting, remember that you have still sold your property at this point, and are therefore in a strong position to proceed with offering on another home.

Gazundering is different, where a home buyer waits until just before contracts are exchanged to lower their offer. This practice may be incredibly unfair but unfortunately, it’s entirely legal. To avoid this situation, make sure your home is priced realistically and make sure you work with a good agent who can handle a buyer pushing their luck.

Buying a home can be a stressful and uncertain time, which is why it’s essential to choose the right team of agents to support you and keep your move on track. Contact us today to book a viewing or a professional valuation with our team of experts.

Is it Common for House Sales to Fall Through?

During the property buying process, there is always the possibility that your house sale could unexpectedly fall through. In 2022, it was estimated that 31% of all home sales would fail at least once before completion. According to a Which? survey, approximately 28% of house sales fail after the offer has been accepted. Interestingly, we have found that problems with the buyers are responsible for a significant portion of these sales failures. However, it is important to note that these figures are statistics and not definitive outcomes, as each house-buying process is unique. Some people will never experience a house fall through; while others may experience several failed completions.  Nevertheless, it is crucial to remain mindful and prepared that nothing is certain in a property sale until the contracts have been exchanged.

How Do I Get My House To Sell?

While there are no guarantees when it comes to the successful completion of a house sale, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk of it falling through. Unfortunately, many factors that can lead to a sale collapsing will be beyond your control. Financial difficulties, issues discovered during home inspections, appraisal discrepancies, title complications, and changing circumstances are all potential pitfalls. Nevertheless, you can actively reduce the risk on your end. It’s important to ensure that prospective buyers are genuinely committed and financially capable. Shortening the length of your property chain, if feasible, can also help avoid complications arising from other transactions. Conducting a thorough survey can help identify and address any potential problems in advance. Furthermore, maintaining consistent and clear communication with your real estate agent throughout the process is vital. While absolute certainty cannot be guaranteed, these proactive measures can significantly minimise risks and increase the likelihood of a successful house sale.

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